My 5-minute 'Ignite' talk at SciFoo is tonight, and I still need to work out the point I'll make with my last slide. (It's too late change the slide - our Powerpoint files had to be submitted two days ago.)
I'll have just said that big mistakes were made by everyone involved (authors, reviewers, editors, publicists, journalists). Then I want to say something about how scientists in particular need to be able to admit their errors - we're working not only at the frontiers of knowledge but at the frontiers of our abilities. Failure to admit we've been wrong is a betrayal of the scientific process.
Can I say that in 15 seconds, without rushing my words? Maybe, but it would be better to cut a few words, or at least a few syllables.
How about this?
Previous slide: Everyone involved made big mistakes (authors, reviewers, editors, publicists, journalists). But the big betrayal wasn't the errors but the failure to admit them.
Last slide: Scientists work not only at the frontiers of knowledge but at the frontiers of our abilities, and learning to be wrong should be part of our training.
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